Alcohol ad aired by Purple Flag sponsors Diageo ‘likely to appeal strongly to children’.

Advertising watchdog rules ad ‘irresponsible’.
 Sligo News File Online.

The British Advertising Standards authority has ruled that a television ad for a Diagio alcoholic frozen coctail could have strongly appealed to children.

The advertisement, for Parrot Bay Freeze and Squeeze coctails,
aired on Film 4 at 6 pm during the film Solomon’s Mines, featured
a colourful animated parrot in a tropical setting being frozen and
squawking.

A viewer, who believed the ad would appeal strongly to children,
challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and breached the
the BCAP Code.

Diageo Great Britain Limited contended that the ad was aimed at an
adult audience. They pointed out that the setting was a Carribean beach bar, with a mature-looking bartender and adult couples in the scene. They stated the adult crowd in the background emphasised the overall tone of the ad.

The company explained that the macaw character was created from the product’s logo through a detailed technical process, which involved studying  footage of real parrot movements and noises to give the character a real-life quality.

They pointed out that they had not given the character a voice and were careful to ensure it did not talk, and had included a statement on the last frame that stated “contains alcohol”, which they said reinforced the impression that the product was for adults.

They explained that they had commissioned a market research organization to carry out consumer research on the product, which showed 75% of consumers who were aware of the brand were aged 25 or over, 25% were aged 18 to 24, while79% of the consumers who had tried the product were aged 25 or over and 21% were aged 18 to 24.

They said that the research also found that 43% found the ad humorous,  40% found the ad original and 82% did not find the ad to be childish.

They said the ad was scheduled during a film which was made in 1985, and, therefore, was unlikely to appeal to children. They pointed out that the viewing data showed that 95% of the audience were 18 or over. For those reasons, they said, they did not believe the ad was irresponsible.

Advertising adviser Clearcast said the parrot was realistic, rather than cute or endearing and, therefore, was unlikely to have youth appeal. They said they did not believe the ad would appeal strongly to under 18 year olds and the ad did not reflect youth culture or show adolescent or juvenile behaviour.

The ASA disagreed. It considered the animated colourful  parrot and its behaviour, including the slapstick humour, with the parrot being frozen, moving its eyes in a comical fashion and falling off the bar, “was likely to strongly appeal to children.

“We also considered the parrot’s squawk and conversational noises, which were directed at the viewer, along with the Carribean-style music, beach scenery and the colourful crystal-ice appearance of the drink also contributed to an impression that was likely to appeal to children.

“While we noted the final frame included the text ‘CONTAINS ALCOHOL’, we considered that this was not sufficient to ensure children would not take an interest in the ad, and, instead, the ‘FREEZE A PARROT TODAY’ slogan, which was larger and more prominent on the screen, referred back to the slapstick humour previously shown and, therefore, also represented a concept that was likely to appeal to children.

“Because we considered the ad, particularly the parrot character and its behaviour was likely to appeal strongly to children, we concluded the ad was irresponsible.”

The Authority ruled the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

“We told Diageo Great Britain Ltd to ensure that future marketing communications did not have a strong appeal to children.”

Diageo Great Britain, reputed sponsor of the Purple Flag, is reportedly planning to appeal the ruling, which was handed down last last October.